Saturday, September 29, 2018

Saturday's postcard: Climbing the stairs at Penn State's Old Main

This linen postcard, mailed in July 1954 and featuring a "FIGHT YOUR INSECT ENEMIES" stamp cancellation, features historic Old Main on the campus of The Pennsylvania State College. (It actually became The Pennsylvania State University in 1953, thanks in part to Milton S. Eisenhower.)

Old Main dates to 1867, though the current version of the building is from 1930. (You can see the original building here.) It is — and I didn't know this — part of the Farmers' High School National Historic District, which includes 37 buildings in the central portion of the Penn State campus.

Old Main was still used for classes when this postcard was mailed. But, by the middle to late 1960s, it was used solely for administrative offices. As such, it became a focal point for students to stage protests from the Civil Rights era forward to present day.

This postcard was mailed to Mrs. Curtis Bupp in Manchester, Pennsylvania, and features the following note, in neat cursive:
Dear Mrs. Bupp,
Greetings from Penn State. I am a student once again. I climb four flights of steps to get to my class in this building. No danger that I will gain too much weight this summer. I hope that you are having a very nice summer.
Clara M. Cassel
Clara might have been a teacher who was at Penn State that summer for continuing education classes. I found a news item in the April 1, 1946, edition of The Gazette and Daily of York, Pennsylvania, which might refer to the same woman.
Manchester High Students Organize
Council to Study Use of Atomic Energy

Manchester — In homeroom periods on Friday morning, students of Manchester High school organized a Youth Council on the Atomic Crisis. Approximately 100 students joined this organization, which is modeled on a similar council founded by the students of the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, High school, where the atom bomb was developed. This is a large sized project which many high schools throughout the country have adopted. The purpose of the organization is to have the students learn the facts about atomic energy and to strive to have atomic energy dedicated to peace.

The students will be given a chance to study the problem of the atom and its use through lectures in assemblies and in the classroom and through pamphlets with which the school library will soon be supplied. The faculty as a whole comprise the advisory committee. Miss Clara M. Cassel and Mr. Herbert C. Lefever are faculty sponsors.
Final interesting fact: Manchester, Pennsylvania, is four or five miles, as the crow flies, from Three Mile Island.

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